Public Choice

, Volume 147, Issue 3–4, pp 359–376 | Cite as

The creation of multi-ethnic nations with or without a core region



What holds a multi-ethnic nation together? To answer this question, we take region as the unit of analysis and focus on factors such as the size of a region, its geographical location, and its external factors. A large region or a ‘core state’ can enhance a coalition by providing more public goods, but it can also deter a coalition from forming by discouraging the existing members from accepting new members. When the net impact is positive, the large region acts like Huntington’s ‘core state,’ i.e., it helps to sustain the coalition. External effects induce coalition formation when the externality is negative, while positive externality discourages formation by encouraging free-riding.


Core state 

JEL Classification

F02 O57 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Alesina, A., & Spolaore, E. (1997). On the number and size of nations. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(4), 1027–1056. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alesina, A., Angeloni, I., & Etro, F. (2001). The political economy of international unions (NBER working paper). Cambridge, MA. Google Scholar
  3. Bloch, F. (1996). Sequential formation of coalitions in games with externalities and fixed payoff division. Games and Economic Behavior, 14(1), 90–123. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bolton, P., & Roland, G. (1996). Distributional conflicts, factor mobility, and political integration. American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 86(2), 99–104. Google Scholar
  5. Brown, M., & Chiang, S.H. (2002). Unsystematic risk and coalition formation in product markets. International Journal of Industrial Organization, 20(3), 313–338. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bolton, P., & Roland, G. (1997). The breakup of nations: a political economy analysis. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 112(4), 1057–1090. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chiang, S. H., & Mahmud, A. S. (2008). Federations, coalitions and risk-diversification. Public Choice, 137, 403–426. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dikshit, R. D. (1971). Military interpretations of federal constitutions: a critique. Journal of Politics, 33(1), 180–189. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dikshit, R. D. (1975). The political geography of federalism: an enquiry into origins and stability. New Delhi: Macmillan. Google Scholar
  10. Etro, F. (2006). Political geography. Public Choice, 127(3–4), 321–343. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Filippov, M., Odershook, P. C., & Shvetsovs, O. (2004). Designing federalism: a theory of self-sustainable federal institutions. New York: Cambridge University Press. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Friedman, D. (1977). A theory of the size and shape of nations. Journal of Political Economy, 85(1), 59–77. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Genicot, G., & Ray, D. (2003). Group formation in risk-sharing arrangements. Review of Economic Studies, 70(1), 87–113. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Horowitz, D. L. (1981). Patterns of ethnic separatism. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 23(2), 165–195. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Horowitz, D. L. (1989). Incentives and behaviour in the ethnic politics of Sri Lanka and Malaysia. Third World Quarterly, 11(4), 18–35. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Horowitz, D. L. (2002). Domesticating foreign idea in the adoption of new institutions: evidence from Fiji and Indonesia. In Montogomery & Glazer (Eds.), Sovereignty under challenge. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. Google Scholar
  17. Horowitz, D. L. (2007). The many uses of federalism. Drake Law Review, 55, 953–966. Google Scholar
  18. Huntington, S. P. (1997). The clash of civilizations and the remaking of the world order. Colorado Springs: Touchstone Publications. Google Scholar
  19. King, P. (1982). Federalism and federation. London: Croom Helm. Google Scholar
  20. McKay, D. (2001). William Riker on federalism: sometimes wrong but more right than anyone else (Working paper). University of Essex. Google Scholar
  21. Olson, M., & Zeckhauser, R. (1966). An economic theory of alliance. Review of Economics and Statistics, 48(3), 266–279. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Persson, T., & Tabellini, G. (1996). Federal fiscal constitutions: risk sharing and redistribution. Journal of Political Economy, 104(5), 979–1009. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ray, D., & Vohra, R. A. (1999). A theory of endogenous coalition structure. Games and Economic Behavior, 26(2), 286–336. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ray, D., & Vohra, R.A. (2001). Coalitional power and public goods. Journal of Political Economy, 109, 1355–1384. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Riker, W. (1964). Federalism: origin, operation, significance. Boston: Little Brown. Google Scholar
  26. Rubinstein, A. (1982). Perfect equilibrium in a bargaining model. Econometrica, 50(1), 97–110. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Selten, R. (1981). A non-cooperative model of characteristic function bargaining. In Bohm & Nachtkamp (Eds.), Essays in game Theory and mathematical economics in honor of O. Morgenstern. Mannheim: Bibliographisches Institut. Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

Personalised recommendations